MLB Legends: 1939 New York Knights' Bat Boy Dies at Age 83

Charlie MillsonCorrespondent IAugust 1, 2011

Roy Hobbs at a Knights Old Timer's Day, circa 1969.
Roy Hobbs at a Knights Old Timer's Day, circa 1969.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Robert Lewis "Bobby" Savoy, bat boy for the 1939 NL pennant winning New York Knights, passed away from lymphoma at his daughter's house in Sarasota, Florida, this past Friday at age 83.

Savoy worked with the Knights during the 1938-40 seasons from the age 10 to 12, and saw the team go from worst in the league in '38 to best in '39, led by the spectacular 35-year-old rookie Roy Hobbs.

Savoy is probably best known for allowing Hobbs to use his own, homemade bat, the "Savoy Special" during the playoff game in 1939 against Pittsburgh.  Hobbs had broken his own bat, "Wonder Boy", in the final at bat for the Knights.  Hobbs used Savoy's bat to hit a three-run homer to defeat the Pirates and win the club's only pennant for owner/manager Pop Fisher.

According to Savoy, who told the story often in the years after the event for reporters and interviews, Hobbs had broken his own bat hitting a long foul ball.  Discovering the broken bat after returning to home plate, Savoy said Hobbs told him, "Pick out a winner, Bobby."  Savoy then brought the slugger his own bat.

In the years after his stint with the Knights, Savoy saw action in the Korean War. Upon his return from Korea, he worked as a plumber for 40 years, settling in White Plains, New York, with his wife and three daughters.

Savoy retired to Sarasota to live with his youngest daughter after his wife passed away in 1999.

"Being with the Knights was the best time of my life," Savoy said in an interview last year, "Except for my retirement years."